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Refreshment in Refuge

    by Gina Burgess

Holidays and family
Date Posted: June 9, 2024

I used to really hate the holidays. It wasn’t the holiday itself or what each stands for, but it was all the rigmarole that went with it. It was so aggravating to have to change plans fourteen times to accommodate all the members of the family.

It wasn't so complicated when my girls were little and still living under the same roof as me. It wasn't so complicated when I was little... well… at least I didn't notice any complications. Except the day that I bawled and squalled because it snowed and we couldn't go to my grandmother's house in Oklahoma. All the roads were covered in ice and snow. My dad put his foot down. He simply was not going to buy snow tires just so we could dash up to Oklahoma (it took 12 hours of driving straight through with two hurry-up restroom stops/gas tank fill-ups and one leg stretching to check weather in Paris, TX but was actually so we could eat bar-b-que at this hole in the wall that looked like it would keel over at the first breath of wind). We had already done that one blistery, blizzardly trip and got stuck in a snow bank. Daddy never made the same mistake twice.

Generally, we'd have Thanksgiving just us and then gather with all the brothers and sisters at my other grandmother's house in Arkansas. That was how you spent the day after Thanksgiving. Then they moved it to the day after Christmas. It was okay by me. I got to see all my cousins and aunts and uncles and new babies, you know, great family fun. It truly was fun. None of the kind of the stuff where families bicker and fight and call each other names... the kind you see on TV shows. Just really good fun, jokes, catching up and lots and lots of great stuff to eat.

Those were such great days! It was sitting on the porch and listening to the brothers talk about the funny things they did when they were kids. It was sitting on the floor behind the rocking chair and listening to the women talk about all sorts of interesting topics which I cannot talk about here. It was racing through the woods and falling in the pond and picking persimmons and swinging on the oak tree swing. Oh, and lest I forget, it was using the stacked bales of hay as forts and falling on my back getting the breath knocked out. It was screaming “Olly Olly Oxen Free”. It was building a dam on the stream and getting yelled at for moving the stepping stones. It was sleeping on the floor under ten homemade quilts because it was 20 degrees outside. It was using the outhouse. It was pumping water. It was wearing shorts because it was 80 degrees in the afternoon.

Today... children are grown and my girls are off in two different cities, my sister is in another, her sons are in two other cities, and Daddy is sitting at Jesus’ feet. Our schedules don't seem to match and this doesn't even include all my cousins and aunts and uncles.

We are in such a whirlwind rat race that no one has time to breathe much less sit on the porch and watch the people go by. What I hated was the tug-o-war that seemed to take place in my body while all the plans are being made. But... it is much better than the alternative which is not seeing anyone at all. That is certainly miserable. I remember one Thanksgiving just after I split from my husband. My daughter begged to bring her father so he wouldn't have to be by himself. I graciously agreed. I cooked for 4 hours, we ate in about 30 minutes, they cleaned up and then everyone left by 3pm. I had the house all to myself. To most that would seem like a really terrible Thanksgiving. For me, after I got over the fact that everyone left me alone, the peace and quiet was rather nice.

Sometimes God gives gifts that last forever and sometimes He gives gifts that make you realize that holidays are just days like any other day—it is the people, your family and your friends that make the day special. Families do last forever. I eagerly await the day the Father will say, "Son, go get your bride!" Then we'll be living in true holidays.

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Biography Information:

Gina Burgess has taught Sunday School and Discipleship Training for almost three decades. (Don't tell her that makes her old.) She earned her Master's in Communication in 2013.

She is the author of several books including: When Christians Hurt Christians, The Crowns of the Believers and others available in online bookstores. She authors several columns, using her God-given talent to shine a light in a dark world. You can browse her blog at Refreshment In Refuge.

If you'd like to take a look at some Christian fiction and Christian non-fiction book reviews check out Gina's book reviews at Upon

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